Fife Council workers, including school janitors and binmen, are set to strike next month in a dispute over pay.

Local government unions issued notices of industrial action to local authorities across Scotland on Monday, with employees feeling undervalued and at “breaking point” after working through the pandemic to keep vital services going.

The joint trade unions say they have, between them, a mandate to go on strike in half of the council areas in the country, including Fife, from workers seeking a “fair and decent pay”.

If it goes ahead it’s likely to see schools closed across the Kingdom and major disruption to services such as domestic waste collection, with bins not being picked up from the kerb and rubbish piling up.

The unions have notified the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) that they have given notice to local authorities, and that they will be “calling out” those employed in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial, waste, recycling and fleet maintenance services from November 8 to 12.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite’s members across 11 local authorities will be taking targeted strike action due to the abject failure by Cosla and the Scottish Government to pay workers a fair and decent wage.

“The incredible professionalism and sacrifice by local government workers has not been recognised during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Unite’s members will no longer tolerate being treated as the poor relation in our public services.”

Unions say it is understood that this could be the start of an “escalating period of action” if the employers do not change their position.

It is now more than 10 months since the a pay claim was submitted on behalf of the 200,000 local government workers covered by the Scottish Joint Council negotiating machinery, and 19 months into a global pandemic which the unions say has seen employees working “flat out” on the frontline with no reward.

The unions have also written to the finance secretary Kate Forbes calling on her to intervene, saying that it is “not credible” for the Scottish Government to “wash their hands” of local government workers.

Councils are offering local government workers earning below £25,000 a year an £850 increase in wages, with smaller rises for those earning more.

This would see staff earning between £25,000 and £40,000 get a two per cent rise and those on £40,000 to £80,000 getting one per cent, while those earning more than that would get an extra £800 a year.

However the unions insist all workers should get a rise of either six per cent or £2,000, whichever is greater.

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland head of local government, said: “It is the combined failure of both Cosla and the Scottish Government to reward these key workers that has led to the situation where we have now been forced to issue notice of targeted strike action.

“Our members are at breaking point and are worth more than what is on offer – it is deeply regrettable that they should have to withdraw their labour for the employer to recognise their worth.”

Drew Duffy, GMB senior organiser said: “Scottish council leaders and Scottish ministers have let these workers down by failing to value the work they do so these workers will now be forced to close schools and leave household waste uncollected to force these leaders to pay them what they deserve.

“It’s been over 18 months since any of these key workers had a pay rise and that is a disgrace given the work they have done over the last 18 months.”

Fife Council’s head of HR, Sharon McKenzie, confirmed that the council has received notice from trade unions announcing potential industrial action in a dispute over pay.

“We are assessing the impact this would have on our services in Fife ​to minimise the effect of this locally,” she said. “Cosla are continuing to negotiate with trade unions on behalf of councils across Scotland.”